Construction Journal Entry Week of 6/23/19

6/25-27/19 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way I stopped in to visit with Earl and Dana. While we were visiting, Pam showed up so the three of us had a delightful conversation. Then I left and arrived at Camp Serendipity at 1:40. Before I went up to the cabin, I unloaded a bunch of yard waste and stacked it on the compost pile. Then I noticed a few thistles getting started so I dug them up.

Then I carried my gear up to the cabin, hoisted the flag, and built a fire in the stove. The temperature outside was 50 and it was a chilly 60 inside the cabin. The fire warmed the place up nicely.

After having my lunch, I went up to see the sequoia tree Andrew and see if the pump was still pumping. I was disappointed but not surprised to find that it was not. From there, I went up over the hill and down to the pump. I tried to get it started again but after attracting a horde of mosquitoes I couldn't get it going and I gave up. I took the check valve with its spring back to the cabin and re-made a new version of a spring mechanism. This one was the same spring, although re-shaped, installed inside a copper sweat adapter that I would screw into the check valve. I figured that by not screwing it in all the way there would be enough adjustment so that a sweet spot could be found that would keep the pump running.

On Wednesday the temperature outside was 39 so I built another fire in the stove before breakfast. After breakfast, I installed the new spring mechanism on the pump and tried to get it going. After fiddling around with it, and trying different adjustments, I eventually did get it going.

I returned to the cabin to get some real work done. I finished making the lower tenon on the upper stair rail and installed the mortise/tenon joint down there. Then I made the mortise hole for the fourth and last joint for the rail, cut the rail to length, and fashioned the end of it for a tenon.

I then removed the newel post from its CB66 mount and installed all four mortise/tenon joints. Then, with a little persuasion from a big hammer and a short 2x4, I re-installed the newel post with its rails in place.

After lunch and a nap, I went back into the woods and found that the latest version of the pump spring mechanism had stopped. I fiddled around with it for quite a while and eventually got it going again. I got back out of the woods just before it started raining.

In a few minutes, the rain developed into a huge thunderstorm with lots of thunder and lightning and a downpour. I sat on Dave's Adirondack chair on the front porch just watching and listening to all the action of the storm. It was over in about half an hour.

Before I went in for the evening, I dismantled the newel post again and removed the top rail. It would have to be removed to install the balusters anyway, and in the meantime, it might interfere with the locating and drilling of the baluster holes in the lower rail.

On Thursday morning, Dave called and we had our usual interesting conversation. Afterwards, I measured for, calculated for, marked, and drilled the baluster holes and the weep holes in the lower stair rail. I used my DeWalt corded drill with the bubble level to make the holes plumb.

My strategy for the ram pump is to make a third version of a spring mechanism at home next week, since I won't be going up to Camp Serendipity because of a visiting granddaughter. I left for home at 1:00 pleased with the amount of work I got done on the stair railing.



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